Monday, February 20, 2012

Remembering Youthful Fun

We've had our share of serious subjects on The Seventh Sola of late. How about a bit of fun? Here's today's thoughts - given after a long day of doctor and ER visits with my mother. (Another story for another day, maybe).

How about that mean mammajamma of a bass pictured to the right. It's an Alembic 8-string bass with lighted fret indicators made in the mid-to-late 1970s for Greg Lake. It had almost a harpsichord-like sound to it, and can be heard prominently featured on Emerson, Lake and Palmer's "Works, Volume 1" triple-LP from 1977. Sadly, the bass broke on a later tour and is now kaput, but it was cool while it lasted.

Second, how many of you out there my age (toward the tail end of the baby boom) remember some of the classic toys we had? Remember Mattel's "Thingmaker" with Plastigoop? It had a little cooker plate with metal molds where you'd make the creepy crawlies, and then you had to cool the plate in cold water after cooking. They even had an edible Plastigoop later on. Had lots of fun with it, but eventually the Naderites out there had it taken off the market because it was so "dangerous."

We had "Whizzers," which were spinning tops that had an internal gyro-type gizmo and a rubber wheel at the bottom of it. You'd spin the wheel as fast as you could in a half-arc on the ground then turn it loose. The top would spin quite a while with a whizzing sound.

We had Wheelos. We had Hoppity Hops. We had "Clackers," which were round, hard plastic balls tied together with string, and the trick was you had to move them up and down and clack them together without stopping. More great fun until they, too, were taken off the market by the nannies among us who were afraid we'd get concussions or put out eyes.

Then there were Lawn Jarts. The real ones. The metal kinds that you'd pitch into circles out in the yard. I guess a couple of people got impaled by them by accident, so that meant we had to make those illegal by federal law. By now, I'm getting so steamed I'm tempted to get myself a lead melting kit and some plastic wing-throwers to make my own. I hate nanny states. There is the issue of personal responsibility here. Somewhere.

I'm waiting for airbags on bicycles to become law, and for Swiss Army Knives to be restricted to age 21. Of course, BB guns must be removed from the market as the menaces to society that they are.

You should read "Harrison Bergeron," a short story by Kurt Vonnegut. It's about a society where everyone had to be equal to the point of ridiculousness. That was the subject more so than the nanny state, but it's just a different manifestation of the same virus.

And why did I have to turn a fun post into another polemic on out of control government and bureaucrats? Forget the last half of the post and just think of the first half.

Remember the fun we used to have, and lived through it.

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